Interface:

What a welcome sight people! Even though there’s nothing out of the ordinary on the surface with the Samsung Galaxy Note II’s custom Android experience, which is notably none other than Sammy’s TouchWiz Nature UX (which we know from the Galaxy S III), there are some new enhancements sprinkled around to make it deeper than before. In addition to that, we’re absolutely in love knowing that it is blessed with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box – meaning, it’s one of the few devices on the market that’s sporting the most up-to-date version of the mobile platform. And who doesn’t love being treated to the latest and greatest?

As we’ve noted, we’ve experienced this custom UI already with Sammy’s flagship, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to us that it’s littered from head-to-toe with a ton of useful features to cap the already wonderful things that come along with Jelly Bean. On top of having all of Samsung’s usual offerings (S Voice, S Beam, Smart Stay, etc.), it blends well with Jelly Bean’s specific perks – like Google Now, enhanced Google Voice Search, improved notifications panel, and Project Butter. Combining the two worlds together, the experience on the Note II is undoubtedly gratifying on so many levels, especially when it’s the most comprehensive things out there on the scene.


Visually, there’s nothing out of the norm when it comes to the look, feel, and operation of the platform. However, knowing that the S Pen plays a vital function with the smartphone, Samsung has been kind enough to expand upon its usefulness – and that’s beyond the customary things we’d expect, like hand writing recognition and making selections with it. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the new features associated with the Note II’s S Pen.

S Pen apps and performance:

Starting with the improvements from what we already had in the first Note, we now have extra templates to choose from in the S Note app. Just like in the Note, the productivity tools include a formula section, where you can scribble a more sophisticated formula, and a pop-up browser will calculate it for you through Wolfram Alpha.

Handwriting is significantly improved, too, due to the reworked S Pen stylus, which is thicker, longer, and more ergonomic, with new technology inside, and with almost nonexistent lag when you write on the screen now. You can handwrite in emails, messages, or simply use it to convert the handwritten words to text automatically.

The S Pen has learned new tricks now, too, with the most intriguing one being Air View, which brings up previews of emails, image galleries and videos by hovering the stylus over them, or simply tells you what this or that button does with a pop-up label. In the S Planner calendar app, Air View makes the appointments pop, so they are now readable much easier if you have a crowded schedule.

The S Pen button now tells the device that selected content is to be copied or edited, and there is an Easy Clip feature to outline and crop while holding it. The cropped region than can easily be sent via email, inserted in a note, or simply put into the clipboard for later use.


Another stellar application of the S Pen is that pulling it out during a phone call evokes the S Note app. Not only you can quickly jot down addresses and other trivia from the caller, but make gestures on the screen, too, to do things such as initiating calls and bringing up emails, which can come pretty handy when you don’t have paper and pen lying around.

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89 Comments

1. dr_fajardo12

Posts: 134; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

its difficult to pick one: LG optimus G or Lumia 920 or Note 2. My money dont know what to do D:

5. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Just a 9, PA? I would have thought it'd get 9 and change (equivalent of an A, rather than an A- or B+) but short of A+ (9.6+). That said, I'd still get the Lumia 920 over anything and everything out this year, and probably into most of next year.

8. sheik

Posts: 249; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

Hey do you know windows os well? I have a question to ask

12. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Yes, I own a Lumia 900 and use it for my daily phone if you're referring to Windows Phone. I also am very familiar with WIndows for computers as well. Feel free to ask anything!

16. sheik

Posts: 249; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

What's the difference between windows 8 between windows RT? I googled a lot only to find that even tech websites columnists have confusion about their difference. Is win RT a hybrid between win 7 & win8? Also whats the point of Win Pro? can you enlighten me on that?

28. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

Windows RT is developed under the ARM architecture, so therefore it does not run any of the windows xp, vista, 7 programs. Windows 8 pro on the other hand, is developed under the X86/X64 architecture and it runs all of the legacy programs and apps from previous operating systems. Note: Windows RT and Windows 8 pro share the same Native code (kernel) and both have the full desktop environment in the background.

61. jshan

Posts: 200; Member since: Dec 25, 2011

Hey man I'm asking you this cz it's like your a xpert on mobile industry eh ? K so give me your idea bout iPhone and android (iOS and android ) which is the best between em ?

69. shandesilva

Posts: 105; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

jshan my friend, you still havent made up your mind? :)..its android !,,,and the galaxy phones are much better than iphones in lots of aspects.

70. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

I like both Android and iOS operating systems, they have their cons and pros. Android is an open source operating system developed under the linux core, it gives you almost the same freedom as a linux operating system on a PC, many customazion options, the ability to root it and great third party support. But all this comes at the cost of performace in some cases, most Android phones lag at a certain point, and they are not the easiest phones to use. But I think they finally got it right with Jelly bean. iOS: It's a well built ecosystem all around, music, videos, movies, apps...almost everything you need. However it is a closed ecosystem, meaning that everything you do or use has to come from Apple. Third pary support is great too. The operating system is very simple to use, but sometimes boring and that makes you wanna upgrade your phone every year. There is no lag at all, at least 98% of the time. In my case, I trust the finns more (Nokia), finland has the highest student achievement rate. They always come up with great stuff, I also like their designs and build quality of their products,I like their maps system (which is the best), and finally the great support that they're giving to their Lumia line.

79. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Between ios and android, Android hands down. Better ecosystem, better phones, cheaper to own/operate, and upgrade. That said, I've moved from Android to WP and haven't looked back. It's a good system, just not for me, and, really, probably not for most general non-enthusiast consumers. iphones have had their day, the world is moving on.

14. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Seriously, there are no "cons" listed here, how is this not a 9.3-9.5?

19. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

"Seriously, there are no "cons" listed here, how is this not a 9.3-9.5?" iP(hone/ad) bias?

63. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

oh tyou want to be like the palm pre at 9.9?

6. sheik

Posts: 249; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

Wait for nexus or Go with Note II. You will never regret for choosing that. Want reasons? Note comes with JB out of the box where as Opt G still runs ICS not to mention that 4.2 is gonna be released in next week. And note II is still lighter than 920 with its gigantic 5.5 screen and has better eco system compared to windows store.

7. The.Dark.Knight.Rises

Posts: 72; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Pick note 2. You don't have to insult yourself by buying LG.

13. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

LGs are just fine, and Nexus devices have a nice aspect to their ownership in terms of getting the newest OS versions sonner than anything else (typically, unless you're on verizon).

43. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

You can root & not have to deal with Verizon. I am on Android 4.1.2 & I have Verizon.

80. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

True, but you void the warranty on it, and I wouldn't do any rooting until after the warranty was up.

21. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

My thing with the Galaxy Note II will be the root scene. I root because I get total control of customization, features & performance. I know the source have been released but I am really interested to see how it does. If the phone proves to have GREAT developer support on both the phone & processor then I am there. If not I am really hoping for this rumored HTC Nexus 5 to be a reality. I have to admit that if I didn't root & would be ALL over this sexy/beast called the Samsung Galaxy Note II. For a stock phone this is REALLY hard to beat. The battery life is really, really impressive. Droid Razor MAXX HD who? lol

30. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

dont worry about Dev support as Sammy has already confirmed on twitter that they are looking into problems concerned with the proper documentation related to exynos. so I guess it will have great Dev support.

31. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

The phone is one sexy piece of hardware for sure. But is it worth nearly double the cost of the Nexus4.. that's my issue. And unless the N4 just sucks, I cant find many reasons that it's worth the extra cost. Have to wait to see N4 reviews to find out for sure though. Sammy definitely hit a high end home run with this thing though, that's for sure.

40. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

The Samsung Galaxy Note II has the S-Pen, the 3100 mAh beast of a battery, the support of up to a 64GB MicroSD card & the real stunner that beautiful 5.5" RGB Super AMOLED HD screen. All those things equal better than the LG Nexus 4. Plus more functionality. To me the price is justifiable. Now add GREAT developer support as ZEUS.the.thunder.god is saying & I really thing this phone has no rival. I just really hope what ZEUS.the.thunder.god says really pans out.

44. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

totally agree.

48. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

that 5.5 inch rgb screen is still amoled in which i am sure the IPS LCD on the N4 is much clearer and brighter plus its a quad core nexus for gods sakes! Gonna have key lime pie, a better processor S4 pro, and to top it off........THE PRICE MAY ONLY BE 400 DOLLARS!!! sorry but no bueno for me..... nexus all D way lol

49. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Hey that's you. I respect that. The Qualcomm quad-core S4 Pro is indeed the best, no doubt. The Exynos 4 quad-core @ 1.6GHz is not to shabby either. The screen is debatable, they are BOTH 720p screens just that one is 4.7" & one is 5.5". You will be able to see & read things better on a larger screen so the advantage has to go to the bigger screen always. You are right about the price point. Sure the LG Nexus 4 will be cheaper but it won't be able to do what the Samsung Galaxy Note II can, but the Samsung Galaxy Note II WILL be able to do what the LG Nexus 4 can. Also about Key Lime Pie, I ALWAYS root. To me if you own an Android & you can follow steps like in a cook book, then you can most definitely root. If I get the Samsung Galaxy Note II, I will root that beast. I will make it how I want & make it perform better than Samsung could ever do, thanks to the GREAT Android developer ecosystem that is out there. I will have Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie. Maybe not the same day the source is released but as early as a couple of days to a full week after the LG Nexus 4 gets it. That is how fast rooted non Nexus phones get the most up to date Android versions. So when I root my Samsung Galaxy Note II in theory I will be turning the phone into a 5.5", S-Pen powered, 3100 mAh battery & up to a 64GB MicroSD card reading Nexus. As always with the ability to put a custom ROM & Kernels that I choose. That is the beauty of Android, plain & simple. +1

41. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

well I have to disagree with you Remix on the price. I think Sammy has justified it. As much as I love my GneX, I have to agree that this phone is a beast and real value for money. But thats just my opinion.

42. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Hey that is my opinion also. +1

45. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

thanx bro. and yeah I read about Sammy taking care of Exynos documentation issue. They are always very supportive when it comes to Dev community. Lets hope for the best. But I was really looking forward to GneX II this year so may be wait for next year or might go for Lg Nexus if price is right here in India.

39. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

That is good to hear. I love the LG Nexus 4 BUT the HUGE 5.5" screen is so epic.

50. MobileCaseReview

Posts: 242; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

SuperAndro, I agree. As a Note owner in the US, I've been very forunate to have amazing dev support. I've been running liquid smooth on my note since its release and this is straight out butter. The note 2 I'm sure will have plenty of dev support. As much as I love all the innovations Samsung put in, I'm gonna turn that beast into stock android regardless. Crossing my fingers there's a HTC nexus 5. I would hop all over that within seconds get myself into debt haha.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

GALAXY Note II T-Mobile
  • Display 5.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1600 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh(15h talk time)

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